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Buzzing with development

There is still very much a buzz within East Northamptonshire surrounding the proposed multi-million pound Rushden Lakes shopping and leisure development, which will change the economic landscape of the area, says commercial property agent Prop-Search.

Earlier this year, site owner LXB announced that the scheme had generated considerable interest amongst the institutional investment community and that it had received a significant number of approached from potential buyers.  It subsequently decided to accept an offer from The Crown Estate. 

Samantha Jones, an Associate Director at Prop-Search, said: “Under the terms of the forward funding arrangement, The Crown Estate will purchase the whole of the Rushden Lakes investment, once pre-completion conditions re satisfied and then fund all the future development costs.  LXB will remain on-board to oversee the development and pre-letting of the remaining space.”

On the planning front, consent has already been secured for approximately 350,000 sq ft of ground floor space with pre-lets reportedly in place with M&S, H&M and Costa.  It has also been announced that terms have been agreed with another major anchor retailer for a pre-let of a store of at least 32,000 sq ft.  Active discussions are being held with many other potential occupiers.

Rushden Lakes will be developed in three principal phases.  The first is a three terrace shopping park including retail and restaurant units, a visitor centre and a boathouse.  In total, the initial phase will provide approximately 230,000 sq ft of ground floor space.  Designs are being worked up for two further phases, which will enhance the first phase retail offer, with high quality complementary retail and associated leisure uses.  Development is expected to get underway late 2015/early 2016, with practical completion of the first phase expected to be achieved by late 2016.

Just along the A45, plans had been submitted to knock down and redevelop Rushden & Diamonds former home at Nene Park.  The plan was to create a leisure park, which would include a cinema, shops, restaurants, hotel and multi-use football pitch.  However, a few months ago the plans were withdrawn by the site’s owner Conalgen Enterprises SA and as yet no new proposals have emerged.

Development at Warth Park on the edge of Raunds has steadily continued over the past couple of years - now home to major occupiers including AirWair, GeoPost, Robert Wiseman Dairies and Indesit.  Construction is currently underway on a new 400,000 sq ft warehouse facility for DSV to complement its existing operations of approximately 108,000 sq ft in Thrapston, which opened back in 2013.  The new unit, which will be operational by the end of the year, will feature 40 dock and eight level access doors, as well as having a 15m eaves height.  DSV offers bespoke logistics solutions to a range of customers and this new site will employ over 200 people, with at least 40 of which will be new roles.

Having withdrawn its planning application for the development of a 2.67 million sq ft facility on land adjacent to Junction 15 of the M1 motorway in Northampton, also owned by Roxhill Developments, Howdens Joinery - the UK’s largest kitchen supplier - has announced that it now look to lease an additional warehouse at Warth Park.  Subsequently, a planning application has just been submitted to East Northamptonshire Council stating that there is strong interest from an occupier seeking a unit of some 655,325 sq ft.  The application looks to vary a condition of the sites outline planning consent, restricting the amount of floor space that could be developed out.

A planning application has also recently been submitted for the speculative development of 102,600 sq ft of distribution warehousing at Thrapston, next to the Paperchase depot on Huntingdon Road.  Regional developer Hampton Brook is looking at constructing a scheme, which will provide for a single warehouse unit, with multi-storey office accommodation of 4,950 sq ft, eight dock and two level access loading doors and hardstanding for no less than 23 HGV vehicles.  It has indicated that construction works will commence on-site later this year, subject to the success of the planning application, with completion anticipated by Spring 2016.  Interested parties are being sought for the property on a leasehold basis.

Samantha concludes: “With all these new developments come job creation and combined they are likely to change the whole face of employment in the area, making it more local and diverse.  So there is plenty going on; there is a real buzz of excitement in the area.”

Further information or advice can be obtained from Prop-Search - Tel: 01933 223300 / 01604 492000 or its website:

Wednesday, August 5, 2015